Early this morning I was driving and I had one of those “That’s it, I’ve had it…” moments and made my way to my mechanic. My car had been running a bit…off, lately. It seemed to be struggling somehow, and as I had been putting off spark plug replacement for a while, today seemed as good a time as any.
As I was changing them I had a revelation: Out in the driveway, working on an automobile, one can learn things about life. So here is my examination of the parallels between changing spark plugs and the answer to life:
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
If you go to AutoZone right now and ask for spark plugs, you will most likely be steered in the direction of a company called Bosch. Is it because they are the best? No. They’re not even the most expensive. It’s because their margin of profit is higher on that brand. In fact, those plugs are shit. That’s why I go to my mechanic, who once was a sales rep for AutoZone, for a recommendation before going elsewhere to buy them.
You get what you pay for.
I acquired my current car in the not so distant past from a woman who had kept meticulous service records. According to them, it had not really been that long since her last plug job was done (on the car, I mean). It was not until I removed the old ones that I discovered the reason for their early failure. Apparently someone had used two different brands, both of which were crap. I did some checking, and both brands are available at my local Meijer store. I rest my case.
Keep things consistent… It’s less confusing that way.
There are a few basic no-brainer rules when it comes to spare parts. One of the more basic ones is don’t mix and match. Just don’t. Ever. With those two different types of plugs in the car, the computer couldn’t adjust for a consistent fuel burn, eventually causing a juddering feeling, especially when going up hills. Mrs. Previous Owner had literally managed to confuse an inanimate object.
Whatever you’re doing, have fun with it.
Growing up, I had a neighbor that had literally 16 cars. Some were new, and a few were project cars. I could sometimes hear him working on them, and there were times when I thought he was going to have a stroke. It was not uncommon to hear, “Gawd, damnit! …CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!” as the wrench, or whatever tool he happened to be holding, bounced along the driveway. This usually happened when he was working on his Mercedes, but that’s another topic. I, on the other hand, have a fairly enjoyable time working on my car, which is why I do it in the first place. While it may not seem pleasant, there can be a great deal of enjoyment in getting your hands dirty from time to time.
After smoking a victory cigarette I took the coupe out to make sure I hadn’t cocked anything up, and just as I expected, life in the Accord is much smoother.